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  3. Instructor-Created Hands On Activities
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  3. Instructor-Created Hands On Activities

Instructor-Created Hands On Activities

In a Hands On Activity in Cirrus, students can open a file, work through the instructions, and submit work for instructor review within a single activity in the Live Office Virtual Environment (LOVE). The Hands On Activities replicate the chapter activities (sometimes called exercises, topics, or skills) and the end-of-chapter review and assessment activities, but activity steps may differ from those presented in the textbook and eBook.

Instructors can create their own Hands On Activities, with unique instructions and base files (data files), but some skills and tasks cannot be performed due to the functionality of the LOVE, detailed below.

Features and Tasks Unavailable or with Limited Functionality in the LOVE

  • Folder management. Students do not have access to File Explorer. Moreover, changes made to folder structure will not persist from session to session.
  • Help and Tell Me features. These features rely on online connectivity to Microsoft servers, which may not work.
  • Insert Map charts. This feature, new to Excel for Office 365, may not work properly in the LOVE because it relies on connecting to Bing’s data engine.
  • Insert screen caps. The Print Screen key and the screen clipping button may not be used to insert screen caps into documents.
  • Press the Escape key. Pressing the Escape key causes the LOVE to exit full-screen mode. Use alternative instructions to have students deselect cells or other selections.
  • Printing. Students have full access to the Print backstage area, but the LOVE is not and cannot be connected to a physical printer. I.e., pressing the Print button does not do anything.
  • Saving Files. Although students can take a break from a Hands On Activity and resume their work where they left off, this saving feature is separate from the traditional, drive-based saving feature (such as File > Save or Ctrl + S). Documents saved to a folder available on the LOVE will not be available for students when they log in again. Students may practice using the Save or Save As commands; in a future session, however, students cannot rely on being able to reopen the file they saved.
    • Creating and using dotx and dotm files (and other templates/macro-enabled documents). Word template files can be created and used so long as students complete all the tasks in a single session (they will not be able to resume their work as normal). Additional instructions and warnings should be included to ensure students are aware of this limitation.
  • Use templates. Online Microsoft templates, such as those usually seen in the New backstage area, may not be available.
  • Use the internet. If needed, direct students to conduct internet research outside of the LOVE before beginning their LOVE session.
  • Use the taskbar. The taskbar is not available in the LOVE.
  • Working in two or more documents or applications at once. Because of the unavailability of the taskbar or other window management tools, students can only have one Office application or file open at a time. Skills and tasks that rely on having multiple files open (e.g. linking and embedding charts, copying and pasting between documents or workbooks, or opening Notepad in addition to the Office app) may not be included.
    • Mail merges. Certain mail merge functionality can be completed in the LOVE. The main limitation comes from whether the particular task requires students to have two documents open. We recommend that instructors carefully test Hands On Activities with mail merge instructions before assigning them to students.

Files Needed for Custom Hands On Activities

Instructors can create a custom Hands On Activity, which consists of an Instruction document (submitted as a Word file) and the corresponding base file. Instructions may tell students to create their own file as part of the activity. (File names cannot contain ampersand characters [&].) Instructors can also supply ancillary data files, such as images or spreadsheets to be inserted into a file. Once you have designed your custom activity, work with your Cirrus Onboarding contact person to add the custom Hands On Activity to your course.

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